Coming back to what you need

Winter at UIThis year I have been working on belonging to myself first and foremost.

After my birthday in November through most of January, I had trouble writing anything creative. I would start a blog post, write 100 words, then put it to rest in my journal, a haphazard collection of unpublishable ramblings and unfinished personal essays.

That’s about the point that I stopped belonging to myself and started belonging instead to law school stress, to a relationship that ultimately let me down, to the never-ending docket of 2L obligations. Over three straight snow days in January spent solely with myself, I discovered that belonging to yourself is an active process.

My snow day aesthetic is my grandmother's Iowa sweatshirt, which her friend Joyce made on an embroidery machine in 1981. Iconic.

My snow day aesthetic is my grandmother’s Iowa sweatshirt, which her friend Joyce made on an embroidery machine in 1981. Iconic.

While spontaneously cleaning and reorganizing my kitchen on day three of the polar vortex, I was listening to Taylor Swift’s “1989” album for the thousandth time. “This Love” came on right as I attempted to sort the 14 kinds of flour I own (being gluten-free is nothing if not extra, good people).

“You showed up just in time,” T. Swift sings.

Showing up for others first means showing up for me, reminding myself that I already have everything I need within, and doing the things I want to do with abandon.

Although the song is about a romantic relationship, it applies to what should be my most important relationship at all times: the one I have with myself.

“You always come back to what you need.”

I needed to come back to what I need: my own writing and my own creative process, to my strong sense of self that comes from within.

“This love came back to me.”

It took far too long, but I’m glad I came back to me.

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